Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thrift Scores: March 27, 2012

This kind of entry is to show off the little things I pick up. Not everything, just the gems. The quirky little items and killer finds that I couldn't pass up.

First, a little piece of art. Hand-made, signed by the artist. The flower is either painted or etched into the metal plate and then mounted onto slate. A bit pricey at $8, but worth it to own such a unique piece.

Here it is enjoying its new home next to the re-purposed shutter.

Next is this odd little tricycle. No, the pedals don't move (I was sad, too). But it was super sturdy and in great condition, except for the dust. For $2, it's got a new home with me!

Wheelie time!

And the prize of the day? Why, a big $4 ceramic rooster head, of course! I'm slowly driving MJ insane with every farm animal I manage to slip into our kitchen. So of course I would score my most hilarious item while he's out of town on business.

None shall escape the gaze of the judgmental rooster.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Raspberry Mousse Piano Bench

I'm going to try something new. Partially because I'm curious to see how this type of entry plays out and partially because I'm too impatient to wait until this project is finished.

I want to premise this entry by saying that I am NOT painting this piano bench hot pink. It's actually Behr's "Raspberry Mousse" which is much more purple fuschia than pink. However, my camera appears to be extremely intimidated by this pigment and therefore tried to make it appear a different shade.

I picked up this piano bench a few months ago from the Habitat Restore for $35. There was a lot of scuffing on the top and there's a bit of damage on the underside, but the piece was just too gorgeous to pass up.

After removing the hinges and chains, the bench got a generous coat of primer. I decided not to sand out all the scuffs on the bench top and feet. I thought the battle scars would complement the smooth, intricate details on the legs.

Now, piano bench, step into my office... err... living room. Just get comfortable on that cheap fold-out table. You may be here for a while... (UPDATE: It lived there for several weeks.)

Oh my god, what was I thinking?! Given my hands-on mentality, I decided to HAND PAINT the bench. With a 2" foam brush and a narrow artist's brush to get all the grooves. Oh, what I do for the color I want. Spray paint would have been SO much easier. But no, I had to get my hands dirty and channel my inner perfectionist. (UPDATE: Dumbass.)

Even poor Dizzy seems exhausted after watching me work for a few hours. And this was BEFORE I picked up the narrow brush and started trying to fill in the grooves. I think I got a leg and a half done before I decided to call it a night. And by call it a night, I mean post this so I can vent about it. Such a labor of love.

Three-ish coats later and it's done! Well, kinda. Now it's time to take a crack at distressing/aging this thing. I had made no previous attempts at this, so I decided to start on the inside (which almost no one will ever see). Just mixed up 3 parts black paint with 1 part water.

Okay, here's my first tip to everyone. If you're going to only try and age the edges and corners, WIPE QUICKLY with a clean cloth. If you hesitate, it will sink into the first layer of paint and create a distinct line.  You should probably wear gloves, but I hate wearing gloves. So I had black fingers by the end of this. It's okay, they didn't fall off.

Also... once you paint/wipe an area, LEAVE IT ALONE. If you try to go back for touch ups, you're just going to pull off your second color and leave very distinct edges. Trust me on this one...

In the middle of this crash course in "How NOT to do an antique/distressed paint job," I kinda panicked and decided to rub the whole surface rather than just along the edges, grooves and corners. This creates an effect similar to the effect you get from painting a second paint color on top of the first and then gently sanding the surface until the first color shows through.

Anyway, I stayed committed and eventually finished the distressing coat. I had work on it on three different nights (two to finish, one to touch up). Lots of black under my fingernails.

Since I painted/wiped all surfaces rather than just the edges, I had to learn to commit to a direction. Since I used the inside as my 'trial by fire' moment, the lid turned out pretty damn well! It's very reminiscence of wood grain.

Final stage: SEALING! I picked up Rustoleum Clear Gloss to protect my work and really make those nooks and crannies POP. This picture gives you an idea of how much a gloss coating makes (glossed on left, unsprayed on right). The gloss remains tacky for 48-72 hours, so I had to wait to flip it over and do the underside and the other side of the lid.

OH SNAP, people, it's done!!!! After multiple coats of gloss and a lengthy drying/curing period. After putting the hardware on wrong TWICE (different screw lengths at different spots, two different chain lengths). After waiting and waiting for a day when I could pull the thing outside and get pictures. Try to ignore the glare. I was kind of winging it on the photos before it started to rain.

Close up of the top:

 Say "AHHH."

Sexy legs.

The black antiquing really brings out the details.

One more shot. Now to move it up into my craft room in the attic, where it will never again see the light of day. C'est la vie.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Room with a MOOSE [Coat Hanger]

For those not familiar with Invader Zim, you have no idea what this entry title is referencing.
So here's a little help.

Now to the acquisition. I present to you....

I've had a strange, prolonged obsession with owning taxidermy items. It's one of the few interests I have yet to pursue. So when I spotted this metal surrogate at the flea market for $15 I grabbed it immediately. What's extra awesome is that the antlers can serve as hooks (in addition to the two actual hooks).

Avocado End Table

This end table has an amusing beginning. See what I did there? End... beginning? ;)

I've been looking to locate a third, unique style of end table for our living room. It had to be sturdy, it had to have at least one drawer, and it couldn't be too wide or too deep due to spacial limitations.

For some reason this cute little $25 table was shoved in at the front of the Habitat store among the kitchen cabinets rather than on the other side of the store with all of the other end tables and night stands. For that reason, I didn't even see it until I was leaving with my initial purchase. So I turned around and went right back to the counter with table in tow.

Then, while loading it into my car, I got quite the surprise. There are certain risks associated with thrift store purchases. In this case, the risk consisted of a family of spiders living in the underside of the table. FORTUNATELY I had a few small sample blocks of granite counter top in my backseat (from my last trip to The Scrap Exchange). This resulted in a swift execution of my arachnid squatters.

So the first thing to do was get a good coat of primer on the entire piece. Of course, I was SO excited that I forgot to take a picture before I started. So instead, here's a shot before the primer coat was complete.

Primer complete!

I decided to paint this piece with the Retro Avocado sample from my accent table project. Unfortunately I ended up needing a bit more paint than I had left, so a third coat will have to come later. You can see how I cheated and only put the initial coat on the inside of the shelves.

Here it is, nestled next to our couch. MJ isn't too fond of the color choice. Since we'll shortly be painting the lower brown color a much, MUCH darker and richer brown I thought this bright green would help break up the brown tones of the wall/couch/floor.

We shall see...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vintage Chair Wall Accent Piece

This is a quirky little accent that has just claimed space in my shabby chic half-bath.

The decanter-style bottle was $0.50 at the Habitat store. The tiny wood bird (~2" tall) was $1 from the same place. The white chair was found today at the State Fairground flea market for $5. (Once again, already being painted and even having the mounting hanger on the back made the price worth it!) Together, these items create a clean, refined accent piece that screams my love for vintage style.

Vintage Shutter Wall Decor

So everyone who has seen this next piece has told me how cool it is. Which makes me laugh, because this shutter was living in the backseat of my car for probably a month before I finally took five minutes to put on the hardware and hang it!

It has definitely added a "country style" to my mudroom/laundry area and provides a nice transition from my folk art kitchen to my shabby chic half-bath.

The shutter was picked up at the Habitat for Humanity store for $5 (a bit much, but worth it for a piece that doesn't need to be repainted or distressed).

The two handles were picked up a LONG time ago at the same store for about $1 for the pair. I knew I wanted to use them for something crafty but I had no idea what that project would be.

Bell & Howell ZOOMATIC 414 Director Series

This acquisition also came from Habitat for Humanity. I have no idea if it works. All I know is that I spotted it and immediately felt that I had to have it. It cost me $20 (about the same as eBay with shipping), but there's something to be said about instant gratification...

Avocado Accent Table

Okay, so here's the first entry in the Awesomesauce Acquisitions blog of shame (and pride)!

This old wood table was picked up at the Habitat for Humanity store for $10. It was missing one of the carved wood detail on the side, and the top was cracked due to someone putting it on WAY wrong. Other than that, the table was completely solid and free of wobbles.

Most people see a defective table. I see a great spot to put my cup of tea while I knit in my craft room in the attic!

I reinforced the top as much as possible using 2" screws, which wasn't much of an improvement but at least made it as level as possible. Then I laid down 3 coats of "Retro Avocado" by Behr (the sample size is under $3 at Home Depot).

This picture was taken before I flipped the table over to do the feet and underside, but you get the idea.

This little table now lives happily in my attic. It's even made a few appearances at Lord Ozwald's Curious Goods!